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The Special Issue

How's Your Attitude?

Good day Ladies and Gentlemen. My name is Susan Harrington. I am a 36-year-old woman who was born with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia.
December 1, 2002, 12:00am

Photo by Terry Richardson.

Good day Ladies and Gentlemen. My name is Susan Harrington. I am a 36-year-old woman who was born with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia. This basically means that I have nerve damage in my eyes. What I have not yet told you is that at birth I was unfortunately diagnosed as being legally blind. What I am extremely proud to tell all of you is that I have not at all let my vision condition at all impact my involvement in making films and doing my job. I live at home with my roommate in Plymouth, MA. I live in a group home with one roommate. I should also tell you that I have a regular full time job. I work as a receptionist for the Department of Mental Retardation. For the past twelve years I have been working for them as a receptionist. Today I am here to talk to all of you about a very special project in which I have been thoroughly involved. The name of the project is How's Your News? It is a travelling news show where we talk to people on the street about what they're up to. All of the reporters met at a camp for people with various disabilities. It all got started when my friend Sean Costello went into sports class, and asked other campers and counselors, "How's your sports?" Well, from this point forward, I can proudly tell you that How's Your News? was born. When How's Your News? did get started the group's founder, Arthur Bradford, chose a few people to become a part of the official crew. At the time that I got the call, I was sitting at the front desk of the Department of Mental Retardation. I can tell you first hand that this was a call that I was very excited to answer. I was excited to answer it because it was my friend Arthur on the line and he was telling me about this project in which I was about to become thoroughly involved. When I hung up I remember thinking to myself, OK Susan this is probably just a one shot deal. Well let me be the first to tell you that what I got was a very rude awakening because I was completely wrong. The fact that I was wrong is something that you will very seldom get me to admit, but in this case I am going to make an exception to the rule. This voyage really marked the beginning of what has really become an amazing success story, for all of us that have become involved, myself included. It was during the first voyage, a road trip across America, that we were really able to put the Man on The Street interview idea to the test. During this maiden voyage of How's Your News? all of us for ourselves made a little discovery. What we quickly discovered for ourselves was that the Man On The Street idea was one that, worked out very well for us. All of us liked this idea so much that we later came together and decided to keep this as the primary How's Your News? format. Well, about a year later we were entered into our very first film festival. We all saw this as the beginning of a whole new chapter in How's Your News? movie history. So as you can probably imagine, this was really very exciting for all of us. I personally have to admit that, for a couple of reasons I was quite nervous. First and foremost I was nervous because I didn't know how well the audience would react to our film. I thought they would say, ?Get these damn Yankees out of here.? I was also nervous because our first screening in history was in Austin, TX, not in my hometown. Well, let me tell you first hand that the response was very different than anyone, myself included, expected. Well, with that having been said, I now feel better that I did not leave out any of these important details. For the record, I was glad that I caught myself when I wrote this. What I was thinking to myself was, "Oh my god Susan, you can't be leaving out details such as these. Details such as these are something that, you should certainly include in this article." Well, let the record show that this is one of many corrections that have now been made accordingly. When it was time to come home all I remember thinking was, "Yahoo! How's Your News? has made a gigantic splash in Texas." I should tell you that on three different occasions, we have actually traveled abroad for these events. So all of us have now begun to develop a little bit of world exposure. So far we have been able to do these screenings in Canada on two different occasions and guess what? You guessed it. We are about to hit the road again. We are about to take off for Amsterdam, Holland. We already went. Well, I can tell you that the Amsterdam response to our movie was much better than any of us anticipated. I should also tell you that during these trips we have also made some time for songwriting. We have already taken most of the songs that we've written and recorded one compact disc. And to that let me add that we already have enough music to make a new one. If there are any upcoming movie screenings, I will certainly make sure that all of you will get the word. Well, in closing, I would like to thank all of you for allowing me to write this today. Live from Boston, Massachusetts, this is Susan Harrington reporting live for VICE Magazine. SUSAN HARRINGTON

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10 Reasons Why It's Great to be Alive

10. Because I am a woman who enjoys her active lifestyle.

9. Because I enjoy getting up and coming to work each day.

8. Because at the office I have developed good friendships with everyone on staff.

7. Because I enjoy singing in the church choir every Sunday.

6. Because, for the last 22 years, I have been enjoying going on summer vacations to camp.

5. Because, with some of my friends from camp, I have greatly enjoyed being involved in How's Your News?

4. Because I look forward to going home and spending time with Josephine my roommate.

3. Because I greatly enjoy holiday gatherings with my family.

2. Because I enjoy spending time with my two nephews.

1. Because I have greatly enjoyed the many places that we have been able to do our How's Your News? movie screenings.

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